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COVID-19 won't disrupt people from consuming this popular Super Bowl food

Alexis Christoforous
·3 min read
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Super Bowl celebrations may look a lot different this year because of COVID-19, but guacamole will still be the star player off the gridiron.

The dip’s main ingredient — the avocado — has become a central component of the Super Bowl party spread, and not even a global pandemic is expected to change that.

“I think you’ll see more parties, smaller sizes,” Stephen Barnard, founder and CEO of avocado distributor, Mission Produce, told Yahoo Finance Live. “We sure haven’t seen any slowdown in the pull through on orders leading up to the Super Bowl. It’s been very good.”

Some 13.2 million pounds of avocado are typically consumed in the U.S. during the Super Bowl, making it the biggest avocado day of the year — bigger than even Cinco de Mayo and the 4th of July.

With their heart healthy fats, avocados have become a popular addition to salads, sandwiches, even omelets. However you choose to eat them, avocados are enjoying their moment in the sun.

“People are conscious of what they’re eating more so now during the pandemic than they ever have been,” said Barnard.

2020 was a record year for avocado consumption in the U.S. That helped Mission Produce (AVO) post quarterly revenue of $205 million in its first earnings report as a publicly traded company. Strong consumer demand at the stores has helped to offset a drop in orders from the restaurant industry, which has suffered because of coronavirus-related dining restrictions in cities across the country. Barnard said the exception is fast-casual restaurants, like Chipotle (CMG), which typically goes through 450,000 avocados a day.

While the revenue result was enough to beat expectations, it was still down 11% from a year ago, thanks to lower avocado prices.

Avocados are displayed for sale in a large market in Mexico City, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016. A crate of avocados as those pictured cost around $12. Americans’ love for avocados and rising prices for the highly exportable fruit are fueling the deforestation of central Mexico’s pine forests as farmers rapidly expand their orchards to feed demand. (AP Photo/Nick Wagner)
Avocados are displayed for sale in a large market in Mexico City. (AP Photo/Nick Wagner)

“Supply is plentiful,” said Barnard, who notes that is the main reason why prices for the fruit are so low. “Mexico is shipping 10 million pounds a week more than they were just a year ago.”

Barnard expects prices to remain low through at least the spring.

The decline in avocado prices comes at a time when prices for many other food items are going up. Global food prices in December were the highest for any month in the last six years, according to the FAO Food Price Index. Meat prices rose by 1.7% and dairy shot up 3.2% as coronavirus-related supply chain disruptions put upward pressure on prices.

Consumers’ buying patterns at the supermarket have also changed because of the pandemic. “They’re shopping less, but buying more,” said Barnard. Instead of buying loose avocados, he said bagged purchases of the fruit have become popular.

Avocado hacks

If you’re looking to get a longer shelf life from your bag of avocados, Barnard recommends tossing an already ripe avocado in the refrigerator, where it can last a week to 10 days.

The best way to prevent your sliced avocado from turning brown? Simply brush a little lemon or lime juice on the fruit and seal it in an airtight container. That should delay the browning process for about a day.

To quickly ripen an avocado, Barnard says, put it in a paper bag with a banana, which gives off ethylene, a hormone that speeds up the ripening process.

With those hacks, you’ll be ready to make a killer guacamole — for the big game!

Alexis Christoforous is an anchor and reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @AlexisTVNews.

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